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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Sharp Zombie Rioja $8.99
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety seems to find a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. And, as ever, this is a terrific red wine bargain for anyone looking for an inexpensive house red or wine for any party, wedding, or other event.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Spicy cherry and dark berry aromas are deepened by notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla and espresso. Peppery, sharply focused cherry and blackberry flavors show a slight bitterness but possess good energy. Finishes with a strong cherry skin quality and good length." (9/2012) K&L Notes: The Eguren family is a well-known name in Spain, having made successful reds at everything from the $5 level on up to collectible Riojas. Produced from a 25-year-old Cabernet vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the autonom... Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(raised entirely in concrete): Brilliant ruby. Pure, high-pitched aromas of redcurrant, strawberry, blood orange and fresh rose, plus a bright mineral overtone. Vibrant and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral nuances. Closes spicy, nervy and long, with silky tannins making a late appearance. Finding a wine with this much clarity and precision is a tough job at double and even triple the price of this one." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from the vil ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Yields for the 2013 Monastrell (100% Monastrell aged six months in neutral French oak barrels, concrete and foudres) were 16 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, which is about half of that permitted in Burgundy. An amazing value, this wine boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of blueberries, blackberries, scorched earth, licorice and forest floor. Stunningly pure and medium to full-bodied with oodles of fruit, this is a remarkable value to drink until the cows come home. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Considered by many observers ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Capcanes winery has an interesting story that mirrors those of many European wineries. Cooperatives allowed small family wineries that might otherwise have been driven under by financial obligations, to survive. They pool their resources and use one main facility to process their grapes and make their wines. Thanks to that system, many growers were able to continue to farm through tougher times. Now thanks to fresh investment, many have broken away from the cooperatives to produce very high-quality artisan wines. Capcanes winery produces many wines. The ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
There is a wonderful element of whimsy and joy at this tiny, family bodega located in Laguardia. The elephant logo, the onsite African art museum, as well as the name (there is no Señor de Lesmos, as it turns out) all speak to the family's joie de vivre and sense of humor. There is nothing funny about the quality of these wines, though. All estate fruit, hand harvested and carefully vinified with native yeasts, this is a hand-sewn wine with the purity, texture and elegance to prove it. Cuarteto is a classic, Alavesa style "maceración carbonica" wine whe... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "This dense red shows a savory character, with tar, ink and licorice notes framing the core of plum and meat flavors. Features firm, well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Distinctive. Drink now through 2018." (10/2014) K&L Notes: The Calatayud D.O. sits in the arid Aragon region of Northeast Spain. Here Garnacha reigns supreme, producing wines that are richly fruited, but with pH's that are relatively low, which highlights the wines' bright fruit and freshness. Bodegas Breca has produced very highly rated wines in the past, though it is this vintage that truly st... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...Read More »
A certified organic blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Syrah, this wine undergoes carbonic maceration to highlight the fresh, high toned qualities of this delicious fruit. Think Beaujolais Village, with a bit more heft. Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and impressive: crisp, bright, varietally true blended wines with great personality that are truly wines ... Read More »
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Jancis Robinson: "Capçanes is a quality driven co-operative that dates back to 1933. Their wines flood restaurants in Catalunya and wine professionals feel really proud of them. The wine is modern in style, hedonistic, easy to enjoy, juicy and super pleasant. Quite straightforward in aroma with concentrated blueberry fruit. More voluminous and spectacular than long and complex. Lots of concentration, lots of fruit, lots of wine. Am I tasting Priorat?" (12/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Costers del Gravet is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Carinena aged for one year in French oa ...Read More »
In the southeast of Spain sandwiched between Jumilla and Alicante, wines from Yecla have most prolifically come from what happens to be the largest co-op in Spain. However the Castaño family stands as the most important and ambitious privately owned winery in the D.O., and they have gone to great lengths to push the quality from the often coarse wines for which this region was previously known. Bodegas Castaño started small and has nurtured their old vine plantings, which has done much for their Yecla renaissance. Their four prime estate vineyards now co... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Smooth and compact, this red offers cherry, vanilla and light smoky notes, with accents of herb and licorice. A bit candied in character, but has lively acidity." (8/2014) K&L Notes: This delicious, 100% Garnacha from the Aragon "Garnacha Belt" D.O. of Campo de Borja, shows all the bright red cherry fruit you'd expect form this grape variety, with the added richness, texture and length which old vines deliver in this portion of Spain. A whole lot of value for the money.
Composed of primarily Tempranillo grapes and made at Covila's facility, this is dark cherry fruited Tempranillo that is unoaked and delicious. The particularly cool conditions of the 2014 growing season produced fresh, crunchy, joven style Rioja this year. Enjoy this with a slight chill to highlight the freshness of the fruit. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Composed of primarily Tempranillo grapes and made at Covila's facility, this is dark cherry fruited Tempranillo that is unoaked and delicious. Enjoy this with a slight chill to highlight the freshness of the fruit.
Here is another excellent value from the Egurens. While we have been working consistently with their under $10 Cab, this Tempranillo comes from neighboring vines and it is also similarly delicious, with loads of bright dark cherry and red fruit flavors. Juicy, soft fruit make this a gulpable wine. Given the Eguren family's extensive acreage of mature vineyards and their experience, it is no surprise that their wines consistently over deliver year after year. Awesome bargain red and house wine candidate.
Inventory: Redwood City